Awesome! Congrats to my hometown airport and EK
. Can't wait to see that beautiful bird on approach. I can't find any hard numbers to back this up, but my observations from working both at an Orlando area FBO and at a Fire Department that covers the attractions area is that there are no shortage of visitors from the Middle East specifically that come here. I find it a bit ironic that not a week after the "first Florida airport with service to Asia" thread generally concluded that MCO
couldn't sustain a 15 hours ULH flight that we have the announcement of just such a route. I am also a bit surprised at the equipment choice. Like others said, I would've thought a higher density 77W (two class if they have them) would've been the better choice, but maybe range would've been an issue? It's 6738 NM DXB
. According to Boeing's chart, the 77W would be payload limited whereas the 77L could still comfortably make it both ways. Florida is a big agricultural state, so I guess there's potential for export of produce in the belly?
I should add that there are a few other things that could make this route appealing. the University of Central Florida in Orlando is actually a top engineering school (disclosure, my alma mater), and there were many students of Middle Eastern and South Asian background there. Florida in general is a popular flight training locale for foreign students. We see them all the time at my FBO stopping by doing cross countries. Aerosim, Flight Safety, Bristow, ERAU are all close to MCO
. Orlando also has the second largest convention center in the country, and I believe it actually has the most single room space of any (supposedly one of the reasons NBAA likes to have their show here), and as others have mentioned, many of the hotels here have convention center space as well. I wonder how much/if the All Aboard Florida rail initiative has played into this? For those that talk up Miami, keep in mind that AAF
is slated to have high speed rail service to Miami, with the Orlando station being at MCO
. Could ease of customs also play into this route decision? The 1140 arrival time is comfortably between the red eye arrivals from Brazil and the afternoon heavies rush from Europe and Brazil (again). I read on here about the nightmare that is customs at airports like MIA
- has anyone had experience with MCO
at a non peak time? Maybe connecting to another flight, even an international one wouldn't be that much of a pain, especially since it's a relatively early arrival? It's not like MCO
is a particularly challenging airport to get around.
Since this is a leisure route and theoretically less demanding of frequency, it does make you wonder if this could grow enough to support a high density A380, at least seasonally. That would be a sight.